An early math foundation is the ability to link a quantity of objects with its corresponding number. Before young children can compare, add, subtract, or estimate numbers, they must understand that the number 6 isn't just a random symbol. It is a representation of six things.
The 10 different play dough mat designs in this file provide students with the opportunity to practice fashioning up to 10 objects corresponding with the numbers on the play mats. For example, students must form eight play dough gumballs on the gumball machine mat that has a number 8 on it.
The 10 mat designs are: apples on an apple tree tree, bees around a hive, candles on a cake, ornaments on a Christmas tree, buttons on a snowsuit, cookies on a plate, gumballs in a gumball machine, leaves on a bare tree, petals on a flower, and acorns on the ground.
Each play dough mat design also has an unnumbered option that can be copied multiple times for addition problems, subtraction problems, comparisons, or whatever creative idea you can come up with using manipulatives such as dice and spinners. The last page gives instructions for playing a sample addition game with two dice, two unnumbered mats, and an addition equation sheet. (This sheet is also included.)
I recommend printing these sheets on card stock and laminating them for optimal durability. As a slightly cheaper alternative, print the sheets on card stock and slide them into plastic sheet protectors. These can be placed in a binder for easy storage.
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